Just Call It BASSCAR

PROFESSIONAL FISHING LEAGUE

The boat industry was in another of its typically brutal down cycles in the early 1990s when Irwin Jacobs decided that his business didn't have to be so sink-or-swim. Lured with the right bait, Irwin figured, fishermen could offer his company, Genmar Holdings Inc., a buffer of steady, stable growth. After all, the U.S. is a nation of fishing fools--a group estimated to be 55 million strong that buys $40 billion in equipment each year, from rods to reels to tackle boxes. Jacobs, 60, saw a rare and untapped bounty. "I don't make a hundred bets," says Jacobs, who in his...

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